Down the TBR Hole #3

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Decision time! Here are my 5 books for week 3:

ONE: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson

This book still sounds cute, but it isn’t grabbing me like it probably once did, at the time I added it. While I may get around to it at some point, now isn’t the time for me.

VERDICT: DELETE

TWO: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Unpopular opinion time: while I liked The Cuckoo’s Calling, I didn’t LOVE it. I wanted too, because hello, it’s JK Rowling. But I didn’t love it, and so I’m not rushing to pick up the sequel.

VERDICT: DELETE

THREE: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I’m actually so disappointed in myself that this is still on my TBR and I haven’t gotten to it yet. I desperately want to read this book. This is a no-brainer.

VERDICT: KEEP

FOUR: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I feel a little guilty about this one, because I’ve heard such great things and it’s gotten such great ratings. But guys, the description just isn’t grabbing me anymore.

VERDICT: DELETE (for now)

FIVE: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Again, a little bit of guilt here. I’ve heard GREAT THINGS. But… it’s 700+ pages. And I got a little bored reading the synopsis. I’m not sure I’m in it for the long haul with this one.

VERDICT: DELETE

Think I made the wrong decision on any of these? Some of the choices this week were hard, guys! Let me know what you think!

xoxo

Jen

August Haul and Wrap-Up

Hello bookworms! It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the end of the summer and fall is just around the corner. Fall is definitely my favorite season but it’s always a little bittersweet to see summer come to an end.

August was kind of a tough for me reading-wise. I was on a book ban (more on that in a minute) and I also got pretty slumpy in the middle. In addition to all that, we were out of town a LOT of the weekends so I just didn’t get as much reading done as I normally would. Let’s start with the wrap-up.

AUGUST WRAP-UP

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This was actually better than I thought it was going to be – I read 6 books in August, but a few of them were such a struggle. I actually had two more on the agenda, and I’m still hopeful I can finish one more before the end of the month, but we’ll see.

  1. The Truth Lies Here by Lindsey Klingele (eARC): ★★★★ [review]
  2. Sadie by Courtney Summers (eARC): ★★★★★ [review]
  3. The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (eARC): ★★★.5 [review]
  4. When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica (eARC): ★★★.5 [review]
  5. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: ★★★★.5
  6. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: ★★★★★

I’m also in the middle of listening to Throne of Glass for my reread (my first attempt at audiobooks!), and about 50% through Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton, which is released next month. I’m hoping to finish Strange Grace before September, but we’ll see! Reviews for my last two books will be up soon.

JULY HAUL

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Ok so… August was supposed to be a book ban month for me. And I did super well! … until the 29th. Yes, I basically broke my book ban on one of the last days of the month. BUT. Most of them were bought with a purpose! Let me explain…

  1. Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart: I preordered this several months ago when I read the ARC (you can read my review here) and so it came on release day. I feel like this doesn’t count against my book ban…
  2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: I watched the movie on Netflix a few weeks ago and adored it. Conveniently, contemporaryathon is coming up next month… and this would be a perfect fit for several of the challenges. I’ll definitely be reading it in September.
  3. These Rebel Waves by Sarah Raasch: This was the book in Beacon Book Box’s August Box! I had one more box left on my subscription, so this was already paid for.
  4. Seafire by Natalie C. Parker: Ok, this one actually doesn’t have a good excuse. I’d seen so many good reviews by friends I love, I saw it in Barnes and Noble, and I bought it. Whoops.
  5. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton: If I love an ARC that I receive, I generally make a point to purchase a finished copy to give credit to the author, and because hello, any reason to add to my library. I had been sitting on this one for a month or two, and then saw it on the 50% off shelf at Barnes and Nobel this week for their sale! I couldn’t pass it up. Check out my review here.
  6. Fence Vol 1 by C.S. Pact, Johanna the Mad, Joana Lafuente: Another book adored by my book friends, as well as a perfect choice for contemporaryathon. This will be my first attempt at a graphic novel, and fulfills the challenge of unconventional type of read (for me). I’m looking forward to it, and the artwork is gorgeous!!
  7. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: I bought this book to do a birthday buddy read with the wonderful Melanie @ Meltotheany and I ADORED it. So happy we got to all read this together! If you have not checked out this girl’s blog, do it immediately. She is the sweetest soul and writes excellent reviews.

And that’s it! How many books did you read/buy in August, bookworms? Did you love any of the same ones I did? Let me know, and happy reading!

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Read in School

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

In honor of back to school season, this week’s prompt was kind of a freebie – you got to pick a topic that relates to going back to school. I chose to go talk about 10 books I read at some point in my schooling career – which is long (for those of you who don’t know, I have a doctorate). So in no particular order, here are 10 of the most memorable books I read in school!

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ONE: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I feel like I HAVE to start with this book, because it is one of my all-time favorites – and I read it in school. Ninth grade English class, I believe. And honestly this book has withstood the test of time. BIGGEST SADNESS EVER – I loaned out my copy and never got it back. But it will live forever in my heart. If you haven’t read this yet, do it immediately.

TWO: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I’m including this book as most memorable because I remember how much I absolutely, positively hated it. I’m sorry to all the fans out there but I just could not like it. The end.

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THREE: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

I’m including this book for a few reasons. I read this book in the class I met my husband in in college, so that already makes it special. It is also extremely disturbing, and has some massive trigger warnings. But guys, the writing is so haunting and impressive. Any writer that can get you to feel sympathy for a blatant pedophile has some massive talent.

FOUR: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

I wrote a paper about this book for an ENTIRE SEMESTER my senior year of high school in AP English. I honestly could not tell you what it was about but I can tell you I loved this book at the beginning but hated it by the time I was done with that damn paper.

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FIVE: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I read this book for a civil war literature class in undergrad, and fell in love with the character that is Scarlet O’Hara. She is the ultimate and original bad ass female lead. She may not have magic powers or a thousand soldiers or forgotten kingdoms, but she has attitude, style, and the unique trait of never feeling like she has to apologize for going after what she wants. She’s also a selfish conceited bitch, but that’s besides the point.

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SIX: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

I actually read this book twice for school – once for AP English summer reading and once in grad school. I’m not a huge memoir person, but this one struck a cord with me, so much so that I read Ann Patchett’s memoir Truth and Beauty, which is about her friendship with Grealy. But really, read this quote and tell me you don’t want to pick up Autobiography of a Face: 

I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I’ve spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison.

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SEVEN: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is a middle grade book that I believe I read in 8th grade? 9th grade? Not sure. But this book deals so bluntly with rape, and the MC’s inner voice is so relatable. This book definitely has some trigger warnings but was such an important book to read going into high school and college. It really stuck with me.

EIGHT: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Another book I hated makes the list! But at least I remember this one for a reason other than that I hated it. I read this book in the same class I read Lolita in – but I met my husband WHILE reading it. We then watched the movie together – which I also hated. I guess we’re lucky to have made it past this one?? He loved it, by the way.

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NINE: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I honestly have been kicking around the idea of picking this book up again, because I don’t remember a whole lot about the details. I DO remember being absolutely horrified about the idea of burning books – some things never change.

TEN: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

I didn’t HATE this book, but I definitely didn’t love it. I read it in 10h grade honors US history. This book stuck with me so strongly, but not for the reason you may think. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, it follows a poor immigrant family in Chicago in the early 1900s. It also sheds a little bit of light on the meat packing industry at that time – and unfortunately, because I don’t think this was the main point of the book, this part is what stuck with me. Let me reveal a little about myself: I was a competitive swimmer all the way through college. And swimmers LOVE to eat. Really. All sorts of food. And this book made it almost impossible to eat meat for a month or more. I’m not kidding. If you like your burgers, stay away from this book.

And that’s it! Did you read any of these books? Did you love them or hate them? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR Hole #2

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here are the 5 books on the chopping block for week 2:

ONE: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I’m a sucker for anything fantasy with a badass female character. This is a no-brainer.

VERDICT: KEEP

TWO: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I Loved Speak when I was in school, which probably is what prompted me to add this to my TBR. I also think bringing awareness to eating disorders and body dysmorphia is so so so important. Another no-brainer

VERDICT: KEEP

THREE: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

I am not a huge fan of short stories, I’m not sure why I ever added this to my TBR.

VERDICT: DELETE

FOUR: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

I don’t remember adding this book, but the synopsis still sounds intriguing and something that I could get obsessed with super fast.

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

I added this because I liked Two Way Street by the same author – I believe this is supposed to be a companion novel? But when I read the synopsis it honestly sounds super similar to the first one.

VERDICT: DELETE

I feel like I have a hard time letting go of things…better luck next week? Whoops! As always, feel free to add my as a friend on my Goodreads account or to send me recommendations to add to my TBR!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: When The Lights Go Out

When the Lights Go Out

Title: When The Lights Go Out

Author: Mary Kubica

Release Date: September 4th

Publisher: Harlequin – Park Row

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars for When the Lights Go Out. This was one of my anticipated ARCS of the month. I LOVE Mary Kubica – Good Girl is one of my favs. And while I did enjoy this read, I have to admit, I felt a little let down.

This review is going to be a little shorter than normal- it is so hard to review thrillers without spoilers! I’ll try and touch on the main points of what I loved and what I didn’t without giving anything away.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • The writing. This did not disappoint one bit. In true Kubica style, it was gorgeous. It painted such a great picture! You felt transported into the MC’s brain as the insomnia grew worse and worse. Reading Jessie’s thoughts was exactly what I imagine severe sleep deprivation would feel like. The slow burn of this story was incredible, and I felt every bit of fear, paranoia, panic, and grief that Jessie felt. As the story went on and on I was dying to know all of the answers just as much as she was – who was her father? Her mother? herself? Despite the things I didn’t love, this book is an epic story of self-discovery, loss, and love. I also LOVED the mixed media writing – which brings me to my next point.
  • Character development. I loved flipping back and forth between Jessie and Eden. Their two individual voices were so well done! Both of them were so relatable, and I felt connected to each one in different ways. I also appreciated that they weren’t perfect. Both of them had glaring flaws, and it made them so much more human and relatable, especially when you realized how much they loved each other through it all.
  • The pacing. This was definitely a page turner, and it was such a quick and easy read. I flew through the pages, and stayed up late into the night dying to finish it. I really could not put it down.

WHAT I DIDN’T:

  • This is literally the only thing. And I can’t even be specific about it because spoilers are RUDE. But Kubica used my least favorite plot device of all time. For someone with such great imagination, writing skills, and vision, this just seemed like such an easy out to me. And I try not to bring down ratings simply on plot alone, but in this case I felt like it was unavoidable. What’s worse is I knew it was coming. The plot device was predictable, which is rare for me with Kubica’s books. I want to change this ending so much it hurts.

Despite the fact that I hated the “twist”, this book still had all the things I love in Mary Kubica’s writing, and it was still a fun read. She’s still one of my favorite thriller writers, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

When The Lights Go Out releases on September 4th.

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

This week’s prompt was books to pull you out of a reading slump, which is ironic, because last month I got kind of slumpy myself. Honestly this is going to be a tough one for me, because when I hit a reading slump, I don’t reach for a particular book – I change genres. HOWEVER, there are definitely some that have stood out to me as being the best EVER for pulling me out of slumps! Here they are, in no particular order.

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ONE: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This book instantly came to mind when I first saw the prompt. I absolutely adored this book, and it is a perfect read to break a reading slump! It’s cute, a little smutty, a fast read, and just long enough to read in a day or two. Seriously, if you are hitting a slump, try this one out.

TWO: Sadie by Courtney Summers

I actually just finished reading an ARC of this book, and in my opinion it is perfect for getting out of a slump, especially if you’ve been drowning in fantasy like I have. This book is told partly by podcast and partly from Sadie’s perspective, and it really keeps you guessing until the last page. I couldn’t put it down. If you liked the podcast Serial, this is the book for you.

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THREE: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

It’s a little odd for me to include a fantasy book on this list, mainly because my slump is just from being buried in SO MUCH FANTASY. But come on, y’all. This book is my heart. The witty dialogue, the cast of characters, the HEIST. It doesn’t get much better than this.

FOUR: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

What’s not to love about a witty, paranormal retelling of Jane Eyre? This book is adorable, funny, plus has some really clever parallels. My dearest wish is that these three ladies never stop writing books together.

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FIVE: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

In my opinion, the best book to break you out of a reading slump is a quick read that gives you all the feels. Don’t make the same mistake I did by waiting to read this book. I cannot stress this enough. This book will give you so many feels, your feels will have feels.

SIX: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

I feel like Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster series will always be one of my guilty pleasures. I fully acknowledge that the writing isn’t great and the storylines lack originality, but I just cannot get enough of those Maddox boys. Plus, I love how Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster give you both sides of the story.

SEVEN: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

While a majority of my list here is contemporary books, I also on occasion reach for mystery/thrillers when trying to get out of a slump. I love getting that feeling where I HAVE to know what happens, and I love it even more when I think I know the twist and I am so so wrong. Big Little Lies is a phenomenal book that kept me guessing until the very last page. I stayed up reading this book late into the night so I could see what happened. You will not regret giving this book a try.

EIGHT: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Again with the guilty pleasures. I’m not a huge Sparks fan, but every now and then you just need a good cry, and I don’t know a better book for that than The Last Song. If you REALLY need a good cry, or you just want to stare at Liam Hemsworth, I also recommend following it up with the movie, because who doesn’t love old school Miley Cyrus?

NINE: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I feel like I’m going to get some hate for this choice, but hear my out. We all went through that nostalgic dystopian phase. I was OBSESSED with this series when it came out – I remember sitting down one day and not getting up until I had finished rereading this book, right before the first movie came out. Sometimes when you’re in a slump, it’s best to go back to an oldie but a goodie to help you through.

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TEN: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

I feel like this is a given and I don’t even have to explain this choice.

What books or genres do you like best to get you out of a slump? I’m definitely open to suggestions!

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR Hole #1

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here are the five books for week 1:

ONE: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

I went through a huge John Green phase a couple years ago and auto-added this without even reading the synopsis. While I do still love some of Green’s stuff, I finally read the synopsis of this one and it isn’t speaking to me.

Verdict: DELETE

TWO: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer

I actually already having this sitting on my shelf, and I heard it was phenomenal. I also haven’t seen the movie so I haven’t spoiled it for myself.

Verdict: KEEP

THREE: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I don’t actually even remember adding this one, and honestly the synopsis just doesn’t appeal to me that much. Add to it that people mention grammar and spelling mistakes? No thanks.

Verdict: DELETE

FOUR: Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

I’ve always wanted to be an Emily Griffin fan, because her books seem to get so much traction, but for some reason I’ve never actually picked up one of her books. That being said, the synopsis on this still sounds cute to me.

Verdict: KEEP (for now)

FIVE: The Last Summer by Ann Brashares

I think I originally put this on here because of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series – I think they’re by the same author? But I read the synopsis and honestly it isn’t speaking to me.

Verdict: DELETE

 

Thanks for checking out my TBR with me! Hopefully I can keep up posting this once a week for a while. Feel free to add me on Goodreads here! If you have any suggestions to add to my TBR, I’d love to hear them. Happy reading everybody!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Evelyn Hardcastle

Title: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Author: Stuart Turton

Release Date: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Pages: 512

My Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed—again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend—but nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Review:

eARC provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a confession to make: I have a decently bad habit. SOMETIMES, when I can’t remember why I requested an ARC, when I sit down to read it I go to goodreads and read a bunch of reviews. I KNOW that I shouldn’t do this, and it’s definitely burned me in the past. But I continue to do it. Really I don’t have a good excuse, except that I can’t stop. And it burned me again.

Let me start by saying that this is going to be a crazy short review, because I’m not sure how I can say ANYTHING about this book without being a spoiler. So, true to my guilty pleasure, I went and looked up the reviews on this book before I started reading it. It had SO MANY 5 star reviews. The hype was REAL, guys. And it pumped me up. I know a lot of people don’t like to read books that have a lot of hype – I’m the opposite. I tend to go in excited to read it but also not expecting it to be as good as everyone made it out to be.

It wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong! It was good, and true to my usual form, I’ll list the things I loved about it and didn’t love below. But for me, this book earned 3.5 stars. Here’s why:

WHAT I LOVED:

  • First off, the writing is incredible. I absolutely loved the writing style in this book. It captured my interest and described things in detail without being boring. I got definite Agatha Christie vibes from this book, who I’ve always enjoyed reading. I’m also including the character development here. Trying so hard to remain non-spoiler, but each of the 8 “main” characters had distinct personalities and characteristics – props to Turton for painting such a detailed picture of so many different people! I definitely will keep an eye out for Turton’s future work, because the writing is superb.
  • This book is SMART. I mean it. (maybe too smart?) It had so many twists and turns, layers, clues, loose ends, etc. lying around. Seriously, if you guessed ANYTHING about the plot of this book, please DM me because color me impressed. I can only imagine the work, foresight, and elegance it took to weave such a twisted web of a story.

WHAT I DIDN’T:

  • I’m really only going to list one thing here. I WAS SO CONFUSED. This book was TOO smart for me. The first 70 pages or so, I had almost no idea what was going on. At that point, the reader (and the MC) get something of an explanation, but 1. Why did it take 70 pages, 2. It didn’t explain enough, and 3. Why wasn’t the MC more concerned about a lack of explanation up to this point? There is also a TON of time jumping in this book, which does not help with the confusion aspect. There are SO many details, dropped hints, and moving parts throughout that I couldn’t keep them all straight. Even when the big reveal hits (and I mean the BIG one, there are SO MANY REVEALS), I must have missed SOMETHING because all I could think was, ‘huh?’ I almost want to go back and reread this book, knowing how it turns out – I feel like that will make it way more enjoyable. The extra half a star is for the last 100 pages – at this point, the book really picked up for me and I couldn’t put it down (I guess that means I have to add minor pacing issues to my list).

That being said, this may just not have been the book for me. If you love mysteries, and an Agatha Christie-like groundhog day sounds fantastic, this book is for you. I did enjoy the read, and as I said above, the writing and the last 100 pages are closer to 4-4.5 stars for me. I definitely look forward to Turton’s future work!

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle releases in the US on September 18, 2018.

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my shelf that I’m dying to read but haven’t gotten to yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Ok, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t crazy about the prompt this week. It was favorite bookish blogs/websites. NOT because I don’t love all of my friend’s beautiful blogs – I do! BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE TO PICK!! So I made my own topic. My TBR has been getting out of control, so here it is, in no particular order: the ten books on my shelf that I’m dying to read, but haven’t gotten to yet.

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ONE: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I absolutely ADORED My Plain Jane (see my review here) and immediately went out and bought the first of The Lady Janies series. This has been sitting on my shelf since June, and I just haven’t found a good time to read it. If you love witty humor in your reads, then look no further. This trio could not have found a more perfect match to write a book together. I’m hoping to get to this one in the next few months.

TWO: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

I have heard from so many people that this series is incredible, and better yet, the series is now COMPLETE. Now would be the perfect time to start and finish this series! I only allowed myself to buy the very first one, but I’m sure the rest aren’t far behind.

THREE: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

One of my very dear bookish friends, Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills loves V.E. Schwab, and I asked her which book she recommend I start with, as I haven’t read anything by Schwab yet. She suggested Vicious – just in time, too, because the sequel (WHICH I’VE ALREADY PREORDERED, WHY NOT) comes out in September. I’m hoping to get to BOTH of these possibly in October, although September may be doable!

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FOUR: The Bone Witch and The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

These books are GORGEOUS, and I held off for so long on buying them because I knew I wouldn’t have time to read them yet. However, last month Sourcebooks Fire generously sent me the third installment, The Shadowglass, which comes out in March of 2019. Finally, a legitimate reason to buy these beauties! I am so looking forward to blazing through all three of them towards the end of this year.

FIVE: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

For some reason this year, I’ve been a sucker for retellings, and Spinning Silver is no exception. My obsession started after reading To Kill a Kingdom (check out my review here) and hasn’t really slowed down.

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SIX: Caraval and Legendary by Stephanie Garber

WHY HAVEN’T I READ THESE YET? If I had ordered these in order of preference instead of random, these would probably be #1. I am DYING to read these, I just have not had the time. I’m also dying for the UK Hardback of Caraval, so if you have any leads on that let me know.

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SEVEN: War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Ok, so if you follow me anywhere on social media you know that I am not a huge fan of the Red Queen series. So why is the last installment making the list? Because I have to know if I wasted hours of my life reading this series. That is the honest truth. I’ve heard people are disappointed by the ending, and if that’s true, heads will roll.

EIGHT: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I feel like this is self-explanatory. Plus, isn’t it becoming a movie? I have a thing about reading books before they become movies.

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NINE: Tempest and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce and her Alanna Series is the series that first got me into YA fantasy, and YA fantasy with a strong female lead, at that. If you have not read these books, go do it immediately. When I got my hands on this book I was SO EXCITED…and still haven’t read it. Why? Who knows.

TEN: I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

This book is also the least likely one I’ll read next. I love true crime…but I am a WIMP. So I really really really want to read this….but only during the day. With someone home. And all the lights on.

 

Which of these books should I read next?? Comment below!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Sadie

Sadie.jpgTitle: Sadie

Author: Courtney Summers

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – Wednesday Books

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher, Wednesday Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Minor spoilers may be below because talking about mystery books in reviews is HARD.

I cannot believe, considering all the pain this book has left me in, that I’m giving it five stars. Ok, maybe that’s WHY I’m giving it five stars. Or maybe I’m just giving it all the stars because I can’t form logical coherent thoughts about why I shouldn’t yet.

Let me just say that I have never read anything like this book before. If you loved the podcast Serial, this book is 100% for you. And if you ALSO felt unsatisfied with the ending of Serial, but still loved it … then this book is even more for you. I FLEW through this book, only to be COMPLETELY unsatisfied with the ending. But after I paced and ranted and double checked that yes, I really had turned the last page and there was nothing else… I realized it was appropriate.

I also feel like I should lead with one more thing: this book has some massive trigger warnings. While it was a quick read, it was not an easy read. This book was hard and painful and honestly at some points made me nauseous. Trigger warnings include: sexual assault, rape, child abuse, pedophiles, drug and alcohol abuse, and child abandonment. If any of these are triggers for you, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere for a good read.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • The format. This book is divided up into sections that are written like a podcast (hence the similarities to Serial) and sections where we are seeing everything from Sadie’s POV. The podcast is told in the present, while Sadie’s pieces are in the past, and we are seeing everything as it happens. I am a sucker for mixed media books, and this was no exception. I also was OBSESSED with Serial, so this book was basically made for me. This was also just such an original concept – like I mentioned above, I hadn’t read anything like this before. The format also made it a very quick read.
  • Sadie’s sections. I loved the podcast sections too, but I kind of wished I had been listening to them. (Side note: there is a podcast that I just found out about! It’s called The Girls and you can use apple’s podcast to listen to it here. New episodes are released every Wednesday for 7 weeks.) Sadie’s sections were just so raw and real and I loved that. Sometimes there were run-on sentences and trains of thoughts that went everywhere but it was like I was right next to her as she went on this revenge-fueled road trip. Sadie’s sections also included some flashbacks as they occurred in Sadie’s mind, giving you insight into her own life and difficult past. As much as her trip was for Maddie, small parts of it were for herself too. You could honestly feel her rage and hatred, but above all that you could feel her fierce love, loyalty and loss she felt for her sister. This book, particularly Sadie’s sections, gave me all. the. feels.
  • Sibling love. I cannot resist a book with good sibling love, and Sadie had it in spades. Sadie’s entire life was about Mattie – despite her own hardships and struggles she’d already had to endure at such a young age. Once Mattie died, Sadie’s life STILL revolved around Mattie – around finding her killer and getting her revenge.
  • The readable-ness. I’m not sure that’s a word, but I’m sticking with it. Like I mentioned above, this book was a quick read. This was in part because of the formatting, but also because I HAD to know what happened. From page one, I was dying to figure out what happened to Sadie and where she was now. The last 50 pages I feel like I was reading so fast that my eyes were blurring, because I wanted to get to the end so I could know what happened. This may be the best YA mystery/thriller I’ve read in a long time, and certainly the most successful at that “can’t put it down”-ness.

MINOR COMPLAINTS:
This is a biggy, and honestly almost made me knock it down at LEAST a half a star. I decided not to in the end just because of how much I enjoyed the read and how original the premise was. I don’t want to talk too much about this because spoilers are RUDE, but let’s just say the ending left me feeling unsatisfied and slightly bitter.

If you loved Serial, and you love books that rip up your insides into shreds and leave you begging for more, Sadie is the book for you.

Sadie is released on September 4, 2018.

xoxo

Jen